Could the Israeli warplanes bombing Gaza be fueled by petroleum exports to the United States from Canada?

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: An Israeli Air Force member prepares an F-35I Adir for takeoff from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, March 16, 2023.

The Guardian reports: “Israeli jets and tanks bombarding Palestinians are being fueled by some of the world’s most profitable fossil fuel companies [according to research by Data Desk commissioned by Oil Change International]. Israel relies on crude oil and refined products from overseas to run its large fleet of fighter jets, tanks and other military vehicles.”

The article adds that this supply chain relies heavily on fossil fuels from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Brazil, Gabon and the United States.

The article also notes that one ship with JP8 jet fuel left the US for Israel on December 6, 2023, after more than 16,000 Palestinians had been killed, and another departed on February 9, 2024, two weeks after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) interim ruling that Israel could plausibly be committing genocide against Palestinians.

Tweet by Oil Change International.

Canadian crude oil and jet fuel exports to the United States

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) notes: “Canada is now the largest single source of U.S. total petroleum and crude oil imports. In 2022, Canada was the source of 52% of U.S. gross total petroleum imports and 60% of gross crude oil imports.”

Significantly, it further notes: “Some of the crude oil that the U.S. imports is refined by U.S. refineries into petroleum products—such as gasoline, heating oil, diesel fuel, and jet fuel—that the U.S. later exports.”

The Canadian Energy Centre also says: “While Canadian oil and gas exports currently go almost exclusively to the U.S., once they enter the integrated pipeline system, they can become so-called ‘re-exports’ from U.S. Gulf Coast to overseas markets.

And the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) industry association has documented: “In 2020, U.S. imports of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products from Canada averaged more than half a million barrels per day, or more than 8 billion gallons in total for the year.”

Overall, the United States imported 4.36 million barrels of crude oil per day from Canada in November 2023.


The Guardian article highlights: “Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has continued since the ICJ ordered the Israeli government to prevent any genocidal act. The ICJ ruling has legal implications for countries and corporations, which must ensure they are not complicit in genocidal acts. Human rights experts said that countries and corporations supplying oil to Israeli armed forces may be complicit in war crimes and genocide.”

The research suggests those companies include BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and TotalEnergies.

David Boyd, an associate professor of law, policy, and sustainability at the University of British Columbia and the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, says: “The countries and companies that have continued to supply oil to the Israeli military since the decision of the international court of justice are contributing to horrible human rights violations and may be complicit in genocide.”

Other areas of concern

Apart from the possibility of Israeli warplanes being fuelled by exports from Canada, there is also the concern about component parts.

The Globe and Mail newspaper has previously reported: “Israel’s arsenal includes F-35 fighters and Canada has contributed components to every F-35, according to the Canadian government. The Canadian-made components that go into each F-35 don’t show up in Ottawa’s records of military exports because they are shipped to the U.S., where the aircrafts’ manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, is based, and Global Affairs does not publish the full value of annual military exports to the U.S.”

Last month, a Dutch appeals court ordered the government of the Netherlands to stop shipments of components for F-35s to Israel because as cited in their ruling: “There is a clear risk that the F-35 fighter jets are used by Israel to commit serious violations of humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip.”

Other areas of concern that have been highlighted in articles and petitions include Canada’s military exports to Israel (Trudeau Government Authorized $28.5 Million Of New Military Exports To Israel Since October, The Maple), Canada’s purchase of missiles from Israel (Canadian Military Buying $43 Million Of Israeli Missiles Used In Gaza Attacks, The Maple), and Scotiabank’s shares in Elbit Systems Ltd., the largest Israeli weapons company (Tell Scotiabank to Divest Now from Elbit Systems, The Action Network).

Yesterday, the Toronto Star reported: “Canada stopped approving exports of non-lethal military goods and technology to Israel two months ago [on January 8] amid deepening concerns about possible human rights violations.” This comes from an anonymous source at Global Affairs Canada and is yet to be verified.

House of Commons debate, March 18

On Monday March 18th, the House of Commons will be voting on a motion that calls on the Government of Canada to demand an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages and to suspend all trade in military goods and technology with Israel and increase efforts to stop the illegal trade of arms, including to Hamas. It is possible during that debate that the issue of fuel exports may also be raised.


The Guardian article can be read in full at Revealed: How the global oil industry is fueling Israel’s war on Gaza. The research report, commissioned by Oil Change International and done by Data Desk, can be read here.

The Peace Brigades International statement on Gaza can be read here.

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